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Astrazeneca (AZN) Launches Dutoprol Tablets In U.S. To Treat High Blood Pressure

 April 12, 2012 10:13 AM

AstraZeneca Plc (NYSE:AZN) said it launched Dutoprol tablets for treatment of high blood pressure in the U.S.

The Dutoprol tablets is the first and only once-daily antihypertensive agent that contains the active ingredient of Toprol-XL (metoprolol succinate) plus a low-dose diuretic (also known as a water pill) that provides proven blood pressure lowering at 24 hours.

Instead of a traditional payer contracting strategy, AstraZeneca has taken a novel approach in launching Dutoprol at a wholesale acquisition price ($15.90) that's competitive to the generics of Toprol-XL and hydrochlorothiazide tablets, with or without insurance coverage.

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The company said about 36% of the patients treated with high blood pressure remains uncontrolled and Dutoprol may provide another treatment option for patients with hypertension.

AstraZeneca has created Dutoprol Direct, a direct-to-patient mail-order program, which may offer additional savings to patients beyond the retail pharmacy price so they can fill their prescription for $18.33 per month, with free shipping and handling, when they order a 90-day supply.

However, for patients who wish to use their local pharmacies, AstraZeneca has also created a retail pharmacy program.

With Dutoprol, AstraZeneca builds upon the hypertension legacy of Toprol-XL, which has been in use for 20 years as a treatment for hypertension and was among the nation's top-ten most-prescribed medicines for the five years prior to the introduction of generic versions of Toprol-XL at all dosage strengths.

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Dutoprol is approved to lower high blood pressure, which helps in reducing the risk of certain heart-related problems such as stroke and heart attack.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first and third leading causes of death among Americans. High blood pressure can also result in other conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness.

AZN is trading up 0.18% at $44.50 on Thursday. The stock has been trading between $40.89 and $52.54 for the past 52 weeks.

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